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1 USC&A - Fraternity and Sorority Life Virginia Commonwealth University Communication and Conflict.

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1 1 USC&A - Fraternity and Sorority Life Virginia Commonwealth University Communication and Conflict

2  The purpose of this presentation is to provide students with information on how to effectively communicate and deal with conflict within their organizations. 2

3 3  What is conflict  Why do people avoid conflict situations  Styles of dealing with conflict  Effective communication techniques  Healthy communication in conflict  Conflict scenarios  Conclusion

4 4 What is conflict?

5 5  Conflict is defined as:  competitive or opposing action of incompatibles: antagonistic state or action (as of divergent ideas, interests, or persons)  mental struggle resulting from incompatible or opposing needs, drives, wishes, or external or internal demands  Sometimes people equate conflict with anger and this is not necessarily the case

6 6 Why do people avoid conflict?

7 7  People avoid conflict because they…  may view it as an all or nothing situation.  are afraid their anger may get out of control.  may feel nothing will be resolved as a result.  may not be able to express feelings and viewpoints in a positive manner. Why do people avoid conflict ?

8 8  Avoiding  Accommodating  Forcing  Compromising  Collaborating

9 9  Pretending that no problem exists.  Minimizing the differences between you, or refrain from engaging in what seems to be an inevitable argument.  Examples of avoiding include:  stonewalling, pretending that there is nothing wrong, and shutting down Courage = LowConsideration for Relationship= Low NO WAY

10 10  Accommodating your partner by accepting his/her point of view or suggestion.  Make peace to get past this sticking point.  Allow others to have his/her way.  Be gracious and roll with the punches. Courage = LowConsideration for Relationship= High YOUR WAY Danger: over time, it’s likely that the accommodator will become resentful of the other party

11 11  Compete with the other party to ensure that you will win the argument.  Argue your side and do not concede any points to the other.  It is all about winning.  It requires a lot of courage and little concern for others.  It can yield quick short term gains.  If overused it will destroy the relationship. Courage = HighConsideration for Relationship= Low MY WAY

12 12  Meet in the middle.  Finding a common ground where both parties are satisfied.  A negotiation of the small and finer points.  Both parties are concerned with reaching greater outcome.  A willingness to work together.  Be careful and watch out for passive aggressive behavior from the other party. Courage = MediumConsideration for Relationship= Medium HALF WAY

13 13  Open and honest communication between both parties.  Goals and objectives agreed upon.  A common understanding and acknowledgement of each parties positions.  Resolving of conflicts without having to make concessions.  Respecting where each other is coming from.  Developing a course of action jointly. Courage = HighConsideration for Relationship= High OUR WAY

14 14  Defusing  Empathy  Exploration  Using “I” Statements  Stroking

15 15  The other person might be angry and may come to the situation armed with a number of arguments describing how you are to blame for his or her unhappiness.  Your goal is to address the other’s anger – and you do this by simply agreeing with the person. When you find some truth in the other point of view, it is difficult for the other person to maintain anger.  For example, “I know that I said I would call you last night. You are absolutely right. I wish I could be more responsible sometimes.”

16  The accusation might be completely unreasonable from your viewpoint, but there is always some truth in what the other person says.  At the very least, we need to acknowledge that individuals have different ways of seeing things.  This does not mean that we have to compromise our own basic principles. We simply validate the other’s stance so that we can move on to a healthier resolution of the conflict. This may be hard to do in a volatile situation, but a sign of individual strength and integrity is the ability to postpone our immediate reactions in order to achieve positive goals. Sometimes we have to “lose” in order, ultimately, to “win.” 16

17 17  Try to put yourself into the shoes of the other person. See the world through their eyes.  Empathy is an important listening technique which gives the other feedback that he or she is being heard.  There are two forms of empathy  Thought Empathy  Feeling Empathy

18  Gives the message that you understand what the other is trying to say.  You can do this in conversation by paraphrasing the words of the other person. 18

19  Is your acknowledgment of how the other person probably feels.  It is important never to attribute emotions which may not exist for the other person (such as, “You’re confused with all your emotional upheaval right now”), but rather to indicate your perception of how the person must be feeling.  For example, “I guess you probably feel pretty upset with me right now.” 19

20 20  Ask gentle, probing questions about what the other person is thinking and feeling.  Encourage the other to talk fully about what is on his or her mind.  For example, “Are there any other thoughts that you need to share with me?”

21 21  Take responsibility for your own thoughts rather than attributing motives to the other person.  This decreases the chance that the other person will become defensive.  For example, “I feel upset that this thing has come between us.” This statement is much more effective than saying, “You have made me feel very upset.”

22 22  Find positive things to say about the other person, even if the other is angry with you.  Show a respectful attitude.  For example, “I genuinely respect you for having the courage to bring this problem to me. I admire your strength and your caring attitude.”

23 23  Before I speak to the other person what do I need to know and be willing to do?  What must we have?  What do we need to leave at home?  How do we have a healthy conversation?

24  In order to move forward individuals must be willing to:  The mindset that both individuals will be mutually gaining from the experience.  Everyone must be willing to actively participate in the conversation.  There will be mutual trust and respect given. 24

25  In order to move forward individuals must leave at home:  the feeling that the other’s position does not matter or is minimal in comparison to their position.  Unwillingness to be a pushed away or be a pushover (sometimes it may be necessary when you’re flat out wrong). 25

26 26  Identify the problem  Develop several possible solutions  Evaluate all solutions  Decide on the best solution  Implement the solution  Continue to evaluate the solution

27 27  Someone in your chapter felt you were doing something wrong. In an effort to help you, he/she criticized you, but did so in front of the chapter! How do you confront the critical member?

28 28  One of your chapter members, Mary, feels that the group does not value her opinion. She feels that whenever she brings up a point, it is overlooked. While she seldom contributes to the conversation, the points she makes, she feels, are valid. She has come to you with her concerns. What do you do?

29 29  While discussing the goals of your organization, two members, Jim and Chris, begin arguing about the relevance of a particular goal. After a few comments, other group members begin arguing as well. The whole room seems to be in chaos. How do you calm them down?

30 30  Maintain cooperative approaches in all relationships  Healthy communication  Identify the ways in which you contribute to disagreements  Practice improving that behavior for a week and chart your success

31 31  Merriam Webster’s Dictionary: Conflict  Undergraduate Interfraternity Institute (2008). “Approaches to Conflict.” (pg. 32-33) North-American Interfraternity Conference. Indianapolis, IN.

32 For more information or support please contact: USC&A Fraternity & Sorority Life Office 907 Floyd Ave., Room 014 Richmond, VA 23284 Phone: (804) 828-4685 Email: Web: 32

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